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262                   LECTURES AND ESSAYS

But the matter of one course of lectures Is
preserved to us. It is a commentary on a
document in hexameter verse belonging to the
Pythagorean scriptures, dating apparently from
the third century B.C. These lines were called
by Jamblichus the Golden Verses ; but Gregory
of Nazianzum did them the honour to say they
were rather made of lead. They are not elegant
as poetry; the form of verse seems to have been
adopted as an aid to the memory. More than
half of them consist of a sort of versified " duty
to God and my neighbour," except that it is
not designed by the rich to be obeyed by the
poor, that it lays stress on the laws of health,
and that it is just such sensible counsel for the
good and right conduct of life as an English
gentleman might nowadays give to his son.
We need not be astonished that the step from
 the Mediterranean to Great Britain, over two
thousand years of time, should make no great
difference in the validity of maxims like these.1
We might go back four thousand years farther,
and find the same precepts handed down at
Memphis as the wisdom of a hoar antiquity.
" There's some things as I've never felt f the
dark about," says Mrs. Winthrop, " and they're
mostly what comes T the day's work."

There are curious indications that the point
of view of the commentator is not that of the
verses themselves. " Before all things honour